The twentieth century in Arezzo
Live a return to an era of ambiguous fascination with elements of progress, human relations and the war.
In Arezzo the twentieth century has left behind a trail of destruction, but also fantastic examples of urban regeneration and recovery of abandoned spaces. Perhaps it could not be otherwise for a territory so rich in history that during the Second World War ended close to the Gothic Line and which was disfigured by the violence of war. The bombings and mines of the enemies scarred the cities as Pieve Santo Stefano was razed to the ground by Nazis or in Sansepolcro where you can no longer look up and see the Tower of Berta, demolished by German soldiers in retaliation.
Yet from those rubble, cultural initiatives and places of protection of the past that today you discover in Arezzo and surroundings have sprung like flowers . Among the temples of memory, the National Diary Archive of Pieve Santo Stefano with its exciting Little Diary Museum stands out. Civitella in Val di Chiana recalls with a moving Hall of Memory the brutality of the conflict and the massacre suffered by the community on 29th June 1944.
In the twentieth century the province of Arezzo was the cradle of ambitious projects, which over time have become the excellence of this land. There is the international studentato of the Cittadella della Pace, which is located in the Medieval village of Rondine. The example of Casermarcheologica, a center of artistic germination and training that came to life in a Renaissance palace in Sansepolcro.
Here innovation and valorization of ancient traditions went hand in hand in the last century. This is demonstrated by the extraordinary collection that is kept in the Ivan Bruschi House Museum, the father of the Antiques Fair of Arezzo and the Wool Art Museum of Stia.
Travel through the centuries in the old city centre of Arezzo. In the Media Museum admire instruments and objects that have been the engine of the progress of contemporary man. The MUMEC conquers you with vintage pieces that warm the hearts of technological archeology fans.
The Petrarca Theatre, built in the Nineteenth century and recently restored, offers the city a wonderful setting for theatre, music, dance and opera. Still in the heart of Arezzo, the scholar and antiquarian Ivan Bruschi has gathered a treasure trove of art and rarities from all over the world.
His House Museum is the most emblematic place of the typically Arezzo love for past things. Every month the Antique Fair, created by Bruschi, invades the city for an entire weekend.
Visit the Wool Art Museum in Stia. The exhibition takes you by the hand in the folds of the ancient textile tradition from which the famous and highly sought after Panno Casentino was born. A unique permanent exhibition is set up within the walls of the former wool mill in Stia, a building recovered after a long period of neglect.
Get ready to smile and cry at the Little Diary Museum, which opened its doors in Pieve Santo Stefano to give voice to the “rustle of others”. Its premises host an interactive and multisensory itinerary that tells a selection of the stories of ordinary people preserved in the National Journal Archive.
Indulge yourself on the footprints of history in Arezzo. Starting from a segment of the Twentieth century that still hurts from the Second World War. The Historical Park of the Gothic Line of Badia Tedalda, in Valtiberina protects the memory and trains active citizenship. Here you come across the open wounds that the clashes between Nazi troops, Allies and partisan resistance inflicted in this area of the Apennines. Walk slowly, in the rhythm of reflection, along the remains of the fortifications of the Gothic Line and listen to the interactive autobiographical testimonies in the Memory Room. On the mountainside there is the Battle Trail, which you can experience on foot or by mountain bike.
Piazza Grande and Loggia Vasari are the most impressive setting for the Antique Fair of Arezzo. It is the oldest and largest open-air market of its kind, which brings here the best of antiques every first Saturday and Sunday of each month. A novelty in the calendar of city events that was introduced by Ivan Bruschi in 1968.
The twentieth century in Arezzo is also cinema. Visit the places of the movie “Life is beautiful”, by Roberto Benigni, a fantastic story, set in the city of Arezzo, that won three Academy Awards. Go in search of the well-known american movie set in Cortona, “Under the tuscan sun”. Let yourself be enchanted by the frescoes by Piero della Francesca in the church of S. Francesco in Arezzo, location of the film “The English patient”. Run to Stia, a beautiful village in Casentino, the set of numerous scenes of “Il Cicolne”.